2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Review: Large And In Charge

by Aiden Eksteen

Every luxury automaker builds an SUV, but Mercedes arguably pioneered the segment long before it became such a dominant corner of the market and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV is at the very top of the pile when it comes to the Mercedes hierarchy. The S-Class of SUVs is what Mercedes touts this model as, packing a slew of technological advancements into a three-row large luxury SUV. Power is available in two standard flavors - a 3.0-liter inline-six with turbocharging worth 362 horsepower, or a version of the ubiquitous 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 483 hp, both with the brand's EQ Boost hybridization. The brand's 4MATIC AWD system is standard, as is a buttery-smooth nine-speed automatic. Up against the BMW X7, Land Rover Discovery, and to a certain degree, full-size truck-based SUVs in the US like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, the GLS-Class brings a touch of European sophistication to a family-sized package. But is it deserving of the "S-Class of SUVs" designation? Perhaps not, as it lacks the polish of the S-Class Sedan where it matters most.

Read in this review:

9.0
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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 GLS-Class SUV?

Newly introduced for the 2020 model year, Mercedes has seen fit to improve the 2021 GLS-Class in a number of ways. On even the entry-level GLS 450 4MATIC, you'll now find ventilated front seats, quad-zone climate control, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Parking damage detection and a new alarm system feature across all models, and the optional features list has been revised to include power rear side-window sunshades as a standalone item on the base model, the Driver Assistance Package Plus on both derivatives, and a spate of new upholstery options. AMG and Maybach variants have been added to the lineup, but both are reviewed separately.

Pros and Cons

  • Powertrains are smooth like butter
  • Massively spacious first and second rows
  • Imperceptible shifts from gearbox
  • Smaller than truck-based rivals
  • Cushy air suspension
  • Doesn't feel special enough to justify S-Class links
  • Body flex creates all manner of creaks
  • Cramped third-row accommodation
  • V8 is heavy on fuel

Best Deals on 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
GLS 450 4MATIC
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$76,000
GLS 580 4MATIC
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$98,850
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Trims and Specs

2021 GLS-Class SUV Exterior

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Front View Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Rear View Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Front Angle View Mercedes-Benz
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 205.0 in
  • Wheelbase 123.4 in
  • Height 71.8 in
  • Max Width 77.0 in
  • Front Width 65.7 in
  • Rear Width 66.6 in
  • Curb Weight 5,467.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • designo Cardinal Red Metallic +$360
  • Obsidian Black Metallic +$720
  • Iridium Silver Metallic +$720
  • Emerald Green Metallic +$720
  • Mojave Silver Metallic +$720
  • Brilliant Blue Metallic +$720
  • Selenite Grey Metallic +$720
  • Lunar Blue Metallic +$720
  • designo Diamond White Bright +$795
  • Black
  • Polar White
  • Obsidian Black

2021 GLS-Class SUV Performance

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Front View Driving Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Side View Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Engine Bay Mercedes-Benz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas, 4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

2021 GLS-Class SUV Interior

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Dashboard Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Dashboard 1 Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Front Seats Mercedes-Benz
See All 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.3 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 41.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.2 in

2021 GLS-Class SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Maximum Cargo Space Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Interior Lighting Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Sunroof Mercedes-Benz

2021 GLS-Class SUV Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV a good SUV?

Available as a 6-seater or 7-seater, versatility is the name of the game for the 3-row Mercedes GLS-Class SUV. Both powertrains are gloriously smooth, and the fact that they're found in a plethora of other Mercedes models bodes well for the SUV's reliability rating as a whole. While no safety rating is available from an American agency, this third-generation GLS-Class (including its time as the GL-CLass before being renamed in 2016) comes with the latest semi-autonomous driving capabilities and a range of passive safety systems to keep you out of incidents and protected in case one does occur. But for its size, the third row disappointed with a lack of legroom, and the compromise made in having such a large vehicle is felt when driving over uneven roads, where the body flexes and the dash creaks excessively, robbing it of a little bit of the luxury it aims to achieve. This is no off-roader, but it's also not a real S-Class in the way it drives. Still, as something more wieldy than a full-size American SUV, it's a viable alternative. For its price, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV isn't quite a new Escalade, but not everyone wants that larger-than-life behemoth.

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